British singer Morrissey has called on the Indonesian government to immediately shut down a notorious zoo in eastern Java where hundreds of animals have died or disappeared.
The former front man of seminal indie band The Smiths, whose 1985 album is entitled Meat is Murder, made the request in a letter to Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan ahead of a solo performance in Jakarta tomorrow.
"Your ministry called for a change at the Surabaya Zoo, but no improvements have been made," the vegetarian and animal rights activist wrote.
"There can be no justification for seemingly endless debates and delays while animals continue to suffer and die. Please take immediate action to close the zoo and transfer its animals to more suitable environments."
The zoo - Indonesia's largest - has turned into a "place of horror" and "death camp" where some 500 animals died in 2010 and 2011.
In March, its last remaining giraffe was found dead with a 20-kilogram ball of plastic in its stomach, believed to have formed from years of visitors throwing food wrappers into the pen.
Before that, a critically endangered Sumatran tiger died and three baby Komodo dragons that disappeared were believed to have been stolen and sold on the black market.
But the forestry ministry, which took over the zoo's management in 2010, said the problems have been overblown, and there are no plans to close it.
"It's true that there have been some deaths caused by overcapacity and a lack of proper facilities, but many of the animals just died of old age," the ministry said. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE